sustainable development. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) also convey the value of GESI responsive conservation and development. Recognizing the critical roles played by women, local communities in environmental conservation, Nature Rwanda is making concerted efforts to mainstream GESI in conservation and development. Hence, biodiversity conservation endeavors of Nature Rwanda are targeted to strengthen leadership roles of disadvantaged groups through economic and technical capacity building for conservation, sustainable use and access to equitable sharing benefits.
Nature Rwanda is working closely with local communities ensuring GESI responsiveness from lowland to high mountains to conserve and manage natural resources. Aligned with SDGs and CBD, Nature Rwanda commits to integrate GESI in all its thematic areas. From its very early days, Nature Rwanda has been instrumental in engaging and empowering women’s groups by the bringing them to the forefront of conservation. Success in GESI have been made through valuable differences we continue to realize through exposure and capacity enhancement, entrepreneurship development particularly in tourism and green business, institutionalization of women’s groups and building on indigenous tradition and knowledge for local solutions.
Nature Rwanda’s commitment towards GESI “Leaving No one behind”
Nature Rwanda believes that GESI is a critical element of the organization to ensure that human rights of all women and men from diverse communities are appropriately respected for achieving organizational productivity influencing conservation and sustainable development. Nature Rwanda is also dedicated and committed to advance GESI within organization as well as across all its programs with the aim to strengthen organizational accountability towards GESI transformative performance. These extend to enhancing program effectiveness to promote sustainable impacts on reducing GESI based unequal relations in socio-economic and political aspects with regard to participation and benefit sharing in conservation for development processes.
- Conservation leadership
Developing local leadership is reflective of conservation success. Today’s conservation requires new ways of problem identification, decision making, planning, execution, monitoring and review that actively engages women and socially excluded groups in all stages. Such meaningful engagement means developing leadership right across disregarded groups that equip them with rights and responsibilities for equitable benefit sharing and decision making processes.
Recognizing the crucial role of women and marginalized communities in safeguarding natural resources, Nature Rwanda reinforces the stewardship of women, and local communities in the wider conservation communities to improve both environmental and social outcomes. Nature Rwanda emphasizes on boosting women and local leadership as an important component for conservation interventions to crystalize attributes of conservation leaders by institutionalizing local groups, engaging them in conservation and development interventions particularly in natural resource management, tourism and entrepreneurship, conservation education and community development. This leadership approach enables communities to be more effective in achieving positive results and making a difference in conservation. By creating an enabling environment for participation, inclusivity and change we help develop GESI champions who act as change-agents both on the ground as well as within the organization.
- Social economic empowerment
Social and economic empowerment is a means of equitable benefit-sharing for shared roles, rights and responsibilities to ensure sustainable management of resources. Nature Rwanda undertakes strategies and approaches to mainstream GESI by targeting female-led households and poor families in conservation and development interventions. These include initiatives in biodiversity conservation; supporting women’s and marginalized people’s social and economic empowerment alliances; through skill based training, green enterprises, income generating activities, tourism to increase income of forest dependent women which helps to maximize their roles in economic development and conservation.
- Women groups and institutions
Institutionalization of women’s groups is an important step to effectively enhance women’s role in conservation and development. Nature Rwanda is working to empower different groups of women such as mother’s groups, women environment committees enabling them to make a difference at different levels of decision-making and conservation actions. Nature Rwanda ‘s support to women’s groups include interventions through income generating activities, skill-based training and exposure visits, adult literacy program, generating awareness, and operation of daycare centers, scholarship to underprivileged girl child, promotion of women’s health and sanitation.